‘Suspicious’ Plant At A Kansas Courthouse Showed Up On Facebook. A Deputy Acted Fast

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Photo Credit: Todd Moore

A photo of a plant — one that some thought looked like marijuana — was only online for eight minutes before Kansas deputies removed the “suspicious” weed.

The potential cannabis was growing just 15 feet away from the front doors of the Shawnee County Courthouse in Topeka, Todd Moore commented on Facebook.

Moore posted the photos of him next to the plant in a public Facebook group — Topeka Real Time News/Police Scanner — along with the caption: “Idk what they got going on at Shawnee county court house. Maybe this is a sign they’re about to legalize.”

It didn’t take long for a deputy with the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Offfice to investigate — and remove — the plant.

“We removed it as soon as we saw it get popular on Facebook,” Deputy Paul Fernkopf told KSNT in a Facebook Live. “Within eight minutes we removed it … We just wanted to remove it so it gets rid of any rumors.”

Some people thought it looked like a marijuana or hemp plant.

“There was a green vegetation that was suspicious in nature that was out here that some citizens came in and complained about,” Fernkopf told KSNT.

But was there any reason to be concerned?

After the plant was removed, Sheriff Herman Jones told WIBW that deputies conducted a field test. The plant tested positive for THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

However, the Sheriff’s Office decided not to send the plant to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to determine whether it was actually a cannabis plant.

“No other further testing is going to be done on it,” Fernkopf said in the Facebook Live. ” … In this case, there’s no reason to have that testing. It’s a huge cost to the agency and there’s nothing that we would get out of it.”

Rather, the plant will be sent to the evidence room and destroyed. He said there is no reason to believe it was planted there with criminal intent, and that it probably began growing naturally.

Still, “it was suspicious,” Fernkopf said.

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